Seminar 4: Dr Caroline Gausden - Critical Perspectives on Socially Engaged Art through the Lens of Feminist Manifesto 

Description 
Looking at socially engaged practice, reading groups and teaching in community groups and other areas.  
Curatorial Practice based around inhabiting a metaphor. In this case, the metaphor is the Feminist Manifesto – Is my practice based around a metaphor? (would wild land be considered a metaphor?). 
Social Artists, predominance of work is dialogic.  
Examples of Practice: 
Chu Chu Yuan 
Suzanne Lacy - stages large events, but also includes conversational element within these. Although work doesn’t necessarily have a feminist content, they are still developed in a feminist form. 
Sophie Hope – Deveron Arts 

Social Art, and Feminist Art, is not limited to modern day. Renaissance painters can be included into the remit of social art if the parameters are broadened, and feminist art can include artists who don’t necessarily label themselves as feminists.  
Notable Critics in the field: Kester (writes supportively for artists in assisting roles) and Bishop (wary of collaborative practice). 
Suffragettes, difficult to view as artists, due to the politics involved. A lot of the suffragettes were artists, but due to the forms delivered, struggle to get taken seriously as artists or political. Political field, bad artists. Artistic fields, lacking complexity.  
Glasgow Women’s Library, public performances, often not viewed as art.  
Rachael Harris – Castlemilk Womanhouse 
New York Sanitation Department - Mierle Laderman Ukeles 

Personal and political realms, and the inability to work in both. Lack of political voice, if working in personal realm. To move the personal into the political becomes a dissenting voice/act. 
Monica Ross – History or Not 
Jonathan Baxter – Challenging the role of the spectator in art. Creating a safe space for people to talk through experiences, and present narratives that would otherwise struggle to find a platform – Roma Community and struggles within Europe. Audio Recordings 

Personal Reflection 
I found this an interesting seminar, as although I was aware of feminism within art, my understanding and interpretation of it, was unclear. I felt that I had a good understanding of the work that I feel falls within these bounds, however where I lacked knowledge was the reach or variation of practice that could be included within this.  
I also found that the notion that it wasn’t a self-imposed label, for both Feminist Art and Socially Engaged Practice, but could be applied by others to build up a network of artists that work within these ways, even if they existed in era’s before the terms gained prominence. Although this seems obvious, I feel that in my practice I have often limited my work by applying a label to my practice or the outcomes, that then force me to work in a particular way. I am not sure if I can break away from this, in choosing to branch out further with my research and possible outcomes from just landscape photography, may open up either new opportunities, or allow me to produce an outcome that is not as contained within this process. In opposition to this, however, is the concern that in moving from an area of expertise, that the need to try something new, hampers the overall results, in an approach of change for change’s sake.  
Although not a large part of the seminar, I am intrigued that the Artist Placement Group is a topic that has repeatedly appeared within the content delivered this year, with mentions during the Gray’s Art Conference, Guest at Gray’s, visits to the GHAT, and one of the short talks that Chris Fremantle had organised.  
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